Crete, IL--A pair of state-bred stakes, each split into two divisions, along with two carryover pools and two big guaranteed pools highlighted a busy Saturday night (Aug. 17) of racing action at Balmoral Park.
With a total of 15 distaffers dropped into the box for the Parklane Powerful Stakes, a pair of $30,000 splits kicked off the “Elvis Night” action.
In the first division, Mystical Marker Farms and Peggy Hood’s outstanding mare, Mystical Victress, cruised to her 44th career victory as she rolled under the wire with a one-length decision in 1:51.2 for driver Mike Oosting.
Mystical Victress posted her 44th career victory as Mike Oosting steered the 6-year-old to a 1:51.2 clocking in the first of two divisions of the Parklane Powerful Stakes.
Confidently handled by Oosting, the 6-year-old daughter of Sportsmaster came away fourth as Rev Me Up rolled through opening splits of 27.4 and 55.1.
Tipping to the outside on the final turn, the Erv Miller-trained miss quickly pulled alongside the pace setter as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.2. With the money on the line, Mystical Victress set sail for the wire easily gobbling up the leader with a 27.3 final quarter to post her sixth win of the season. Fox Valley Matinee (Brian Carpenter) turned a ground saving trip into the place check while Whistle Pig (Casey Leonard) was third.
Bet as though defeat was clearly out of the question Mystical Victress returned $2.20, $2.10 and $2.10 while upping her career bankroll to $758,973.
In the second division, Joshua Carter’s Just By Design used a big backside brush to power into command and never looked back as she reported home with a 2-¾ length victory in 1:52.2 for driver Dave Magee.
Reserved early on as Tamarac Sassy (Casey Leonard) led the field through an opening quarter in 27.3, Magee pulled from sixth as Leonard tried to put on the brakes with the field moving toward the half-mile mark.
Rushing up to challenge the pacesetter as the field hit the half in 57.1, Just By Design easily cleared to the front on the turn as was in complete command as she passed the three-quarter mile mark in 1:25.
Fit and fresh down the stretch, the Mike Brink-trained 5-year-old sealed the deal with a 27.2 final split to post her second win of the season.
Pardon (John De Long) turned in a solid effort to be the bridesmaid while Tamarac Sassy held on for third.
Fort Silky notched his 11th win of the year by knocking off six rivals in 1:51.1 in the second of two divisions of the Big Tom Stakes.
The daughter of Sportsmaster returned $6.80, $3.60 and $2.80 while pushing her 2013 record to 2-3-2 in 13 starts. With the win Just By Design now boasts $212,702 in career earnings.
A total of 13 older pacing horses were entered for the Big Tom Stakes with each division each carrying a jackpot of $30,000.
Once again trainer Erv Miller and driver Mike Oosting teamed up to get another prohibitive favorite home as Mystical Marker Farms, Paymac Racing, Shim Racing and Kenneth Duffy’s A Cool Card continued his impressive comeback with a 1-¾ length triumph in 1:51.1.
Hustled from fourth to first after watching Park Lane Deputy (Todd Warren) lead the field through an opening quarter in 27.3 A Cool Card was comfortably in front through middle splits of 55.4 and 1:23.4.
Shrugging off a mild challenge from Whirlwindiplomacy (Casey Leonard) in the lane, the 5-year-old son of Cole Muffler paced home in 27.2 to secure his fourth win in eight starts this season. Park Lane Deputy came on again to finish second while Whirlwind Diplomacy wound up third.
After missing part of 2011 and all of 2012 with a cracked knee the bay gelding is showing signs of regaining the form that turned heads here during his 3-year-old season. With Saturday’s win A Cool Card boasts career numbers 11-1-2 in 16 starts with earnings of $126,900. He returned $2.20, $2.10 and $2.10 to his legion of backers.
In the nightcap, John Prentice and Neva Jane Grevengoed’s Fort Silky continued to enjoy his finest season to date as the 7-year-old gelding scored by a hard fought neck in 1:51.1 with Casey Leonard at the controls.
Hustled away from post 6, the gelded son of Ft. Apache Hanover led the field through an opening quarter in 27. Facing immediate pressure from a headstrong NJ’s Big Deal (Mike Cox) Leonard briefly released that rival before moving back to the front where he led the field through middle splits of 56.2 and 1:24.
Despite making two moves during the mile the Terry Leonard trainee gamely held off a late bit up the inside from the pocket sitting NJ’s Big Deal with a 27.1 final quarter to post his 37th career victory. Uncle Smoothie (Mike Oosting) finished third.
Another heavy favorite of the betting public Fort Silky returned $3.00, $2.20 and $2.10 while upping his career bankroll to $458,834 on the strength of a 2013 record of 11-8-1 in 23 starts.